Saturday, February 15, 2014

No Help from the Province

We had an inter-municipal meeting in Acme the other evening.  We talked blizzards and snow removal for quite a while.

It appears that most communities in this area, including Beiseker, have spent between $8,000 and $20,000 moving snow so far, this winter!  This is a big hit on the budgets of small municipalities like ours. 

I've had our Village Administrator check out to see if we could apply for emergency or disaster funding from the province.  I realize that our expenditures for snow removal pale by comparison to the flood damage in many Alberta municipalities, last spring.  However, these expenses come at us totally unexpected, and have stretched our snow budgets to the breaking point.

But the answer from the province was a flat "no."

I see no choice for all the small municipalities to either cut other services or raise taxes (or maybe both) to accommodate these huge increases in snow removal budgets.

I believe that the province should be helping its municipalities cope with these "snow emergencies," as much as possible.  The premier's travel expenses and the bureaucrats' salaries show me that they have (or maybe had) the money!


  1. I think the winters of the past ten years or so - with more frequent chinooks, less snow and overall warmer temperatures - have spoiled us a bit.

    What happened to the municipal snow removal budgets of those milder years? Have they always been used up at the end of every season, or have they ever *not* used all of the funds allocated?

    1. Good question. Thanks Rhys. Over the years since I've been on village council we've always kept our snow removal budgeted amount adequate but not excessive.. As a small municipality we cannot afford to create a large surplus each year and have a huge "rainy day fund". Our snow removal budget did increase but that increase could not support the winter we've had this year. I'm going to recommend we increase the 2014 budgeted amount for snow removal somewhat. Increasing it a huge amount would mean the loss of other programs and plans or increasing taxes, or both! And I'm going to hope that Mother Nature will give us a bit of a break in November and December of 2014! If not, we will have to look at more serious measures. No one ever said budgeting for a small municipality was easy!

  2. Please do not raise taxes. We already pay exorbitant rates for what we receive. Cut wages, programs, whatever first!